Rotem Reshef

Time Traveler : Part ll - Compass

Solo Exhibition

Curator: Sagi Refael

Kwan Fong Art Gallery

California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California

February - April 2018

"A site-specific installation of interwoven scrolls by artist Rotem Reshef, Time Traveler highlights our interaction with, and interpretation of, the four seasons. Human lives are connected to the seasons in ritual, culture and tradition. Seasonal transitions mark the passage of time, whether on an agricultural or a religious calendar. In Time Traveler, Reshef manifests a perception of time that is not segmented, as four distinctive seasons that are coming one after the other, but rather as a collision of temperatures and atmospheres that melt and clash into each other. These manifestations are reminiscent dramatic climate changes we face, as communities experience extreme cold or hurricanes, mirrored by fires and heat waves.

Enormous scrolls are imprinted with features of each season: leaves for fall; ribbons for spring; raffia, straw-like, for summer; and bubble wrap and cellophane for winter. Reshef’s use of imprinting wrapping materials in these scrolls suggests an element of safety, on one hand, or over-protection on the other. The glowing yellow scrolls bring a sense of warmth and radiating energy, that is often associated in religious art with halos and divinity. Their brightness overcomes darkness, and allows life, progression and strength. The blue scrolls create a cool atmosphere, but also reflect a tension between the sky and the sea, two shapeless entities that are visually and conceptually separate yet seemingly united in the horizon. The pink-purple scrolls suggest blossom and liveliness, perhaps the result of a fruitful collaboration between the light, the sky and the watery depths of the ocean, from which surfaced and rose the continents.

The cross-shaped installation alludes to a spiritual compass–a lighthouse in a time of turmoil–that is marking a safe place to lead its viewer toward. Just as the seasons collide on this compass, so too do East and West (and North and South), as migration of peoples flee disasters and cross paths. Cultures and religions can come together but could also polarize and incite. Borders can open and dissipate but could also be built out of xenophobia and fear. A haven could easily become a jail, even a grave.

In a polemic era, the monumentality of this piece offers a sanctuary of silent observation and infinite interpretations. Time Traveler: Compass invites the audience to explore and contemplate the potential of art to be an inspiring vessel that is relevant to our everyday lives, as a commentary and as a vehicle to promote personal and cultural growth."

Written by Sagi Refael & Rachel Schmid for the exhibition brochure, 2018